The launch of the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid this fall is a watershed moment for the Audi product line-up and brand.
In that context, Audi has highlighted another watershed moment for electrification: when Bob Dylan plugged in his electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.
In a 2:43-minute video, Audi pays homage to that moment, when the iconoclastic Dylan changed folk and rock music forever by plugging in his electric Fender Stratocaster guitar on the festival stage. Audi of America sponsored the 2015 Newport Folk Festival, which occurred in July at Newport, R.I.
The tie-in to this historic plug-in moment is part of a larger Audi marketing campaign to introduce the American buying public to the brand’s first electrified vehicle offered in the U.S. market.
As the documentary-style video portrays, at the instant Dylan plugged in and fired up his electric guitar, some of the Newport crowd booed the game-changing decision. Festival founders interviewed for the video said they recognized the new technology as a force to be reckoned with.
As Colin Meloy of one of today’s rising bands, The Decemberists, said in the video, Newport suddenly, “wasn’t the folk festival it had been.”
But inevitably, the electric shift led the entire music industry the same way. And with the mainstreaming of the electric guitar, popular music got bolder, said John McCauley, of another of today’s groups, Deer Tick, in the Audi video.
The video concludes with shots of the Audi A3 e-tron plugging into electricity for charging. A narrator says: “Plugging in changes everything, and there’s no looking back.”